Vote Compass: Growing number of Kiwis think Treaty of Waitangi should play greater role in legal system

Andrew Macfarlane
Source: 1News

More New Zealanders think the Treaty of Waitangi should play a more significant role in the country’s legal system.

That’s one of the latest findings from TVNZ’s Vote Compass tool, which has now been used by more than 190,000 people.

Voters were asked: “How much of a role should the Treaty of Waitangi have in New Zealand law?”

Twenty-seven per cent of the population believes the Treaty should play a larger role in New Zealand law, while 36 per cent believes the Treaty should play less of a role, and 35 per cent believes the current role of the Treaty in New Zealand law is sufficient.

However, support has built over the last six years.

Since Vote Compass was first used by TVNZ in 2014, a growing number of New Zealanders are indicating the Treaty of Waitangi should play more of a role.

In 2014, only 15 per cent of the population believed the Treaty should play a larger role in New Zealand law, compared to 18 per cent in 2017 and 27 per cent currently.

University of Auckland’s Lisa Chant says that’s likely down to greater education of Tikanga Māori.

“I think, really interestingly, what we're seeing is the younger generations are so much more engaged [in] Te Tiriti having a larger role in New Zealand law, particularly our 18- to 19-year-olds, and also our current students.”

Chant says it’s a trend that’s likely to continue.

To take part in Vote Compass, a survey tool which shows users how their views match up with party policies, go to

Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a civic engagement application offered in New Zealand exclusively by TVNZ.

The findings are based on 72,237 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from August 30, 2020 to September 15, 2020.

Unlike online opinion polls, respondents to Vote Compass are not pre-selected. Similar to opinion polls, however, the data are a non-random sample from the population and have been weighted in order to approximate a representative sample. Vote Compass data have been weighted by gender, age, education, language, region and past vote to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of New Zealand according to census data and other population estimates.